The Motion Picture Association of America has slightly eased up on its anti-piracy policy and discontinued its pirate hunting program Take Action Award.

Illegal recording is considered as a major reason why piracy is still widespread, which is why most theater employees are given night-vision goggles to observe the behavior of moviegoers. Other movie houses even ask customers to leave their devices that can take videos before they watch a film, including Google Glasses and smartphones.

The MPAA drew up these measures in collaboration with the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). Just recently, an updated version was published, which indicated only marginal changes.

"Preventative measures should include asking patrons to silence and put away their phones and requiring they turn off and stow all other devices capable of recording, including wearable technology capable of recording. If individuals fail or refuse to put any recording device away, managers — per your theater's policy — can ask them to leave," the updated version uploaded by TorrentFreak on Scribd reads (PDF).

While there are only several small changes, there are also some notable ones. Particularly, theater managers are no longer told to immediately alert the police of offenders, where notifying authorities has become optional. Also, theater managers are no longer required to report incidents to the MPAA, as the recommendation makes it sound optional as well.

Meanwhile, the Take Action Reward, which rewards employees who catch offenders $500, has been omitted, not to mention that details of the program have been removed from the NATO and FightFilmTheft websites.

It's unclear why the two entities made these updates, but TorrentFreak surmises that it could be because of an image problem or numerous false positives reported to authorities.

On top of those speculations, several cases have been proven to be controversial. Last year, FBI dragged a man out of a theater in Columbus, Ohio, when theater employees assumed that he was pirating the movie because of his Google Glasses. Also, back in 2007, a 19-year-old girl was apprehended and fined $2,500 for taking a 20-second clip of "Transformers," which she was only supposed to show her little brother.

We will have to wait for an official statement from the MPAA and NATO to find out the reason behind these developments, but in any case, it seems that the pair is loosening up on its strict practices.

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Tags: MPAA NATO Piracy